by Patricia Fry
5 Ways to Promote Your Book
Without Changing Your Lifestyle
By Patricia L. Fry
Some authors that I meet are reluctant to go out of their way to promote their books. They say, in essence, “It’s a good book, isn’t that enough?” Sure, they want to sell a gazillion copies, but they resist the marketing process. They just want to write.
The truth is that, whether you self-publish, you have a traditional royalty publisher or you go with a fee-based, POD publisher, you must participate in promoting your book.
In my book, “Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book” I outline a collection of no and low-cost marketing ideas. Granted, not all marketing techniques are for all authors. Each of us has our level of comfort. While I strongly urge authors to stretch beyond their comfort zone, there’s nothing wrong with starting the process in familiar territory.
Here are five ideas for promoting your book while involved in the process of living your life.
1. Talk about your book everywhere you go. Show your book to your coworkers, clients, vendors, members at your gym, the waitress who takes your lunch order and your dry cleaner, for example.
I suggest that authors create a 30-second commercial—a spiel that describes their book in 100 words or less. Repeat this anytime someone at a business meeting, class reunion, the supermarket, the auto parts store or your child’s school asks what you’re working on now.
Your 30-second commercial should be concise, clear and clever. If you’re not sure how effective your mini-speech is, rehearse it in front of friends. Your goal should be for people to walk away with a clear understanding of your book without feeling overwhelmed by too much information.
As an example, instead of saying, “I wrote a book about making wreaths,” try this: “I just finished publishing a book featuring living wreaths. I explain how to make wreaths using succulents, small garden flowers and ivy, for example.” If the listener seems interested, explain a little about how the wreaths are constructed. If your topic isn’t this person’s cup of tea, mention that it makes a great gift for someone who loves gardening.
2. Promote your book on the Internet. If you use the Internet to chat or conduct research anyway, why not do some promotion while you’re there. Go to the sites that reflect the subject of your book and get involved in chats, leave notes on bulletin boards, offer the site host excerpts from your book. A literary site may feature your poetry book on their author’s page. A gardening site would probably be thrilled to post information about your book on living wreaths.
And when conversing with anyone via the Internet, don’t forget to add a “signature”. A signature is a little plug you can insert automatically at the end of your email.
3. Join clubs and organizations related to your book topic. Attend meetings and show your book around. Offer to give presentations reflecting your expertise. Donate books for special events. Get even more exposure by volunteering for community service projects that these organizations promote.
4. Write letters to the editor. Watch your local newspaper for an article or letter that relates to the topic of your book. Respond with information or opinions that reflect the content of your book. Be sure to include the title of your book in your letter.
5. Sell books on the road. Anytime you travel, take a box of books with you to sell along the way. Arrange in advance with a bookstore or specialty shop to have a book signing while there. Send press releases to local newspapers announcing your event. Make sure the store has plenty of copies of your books to sell.
If you don’t have time for a book signing, make cold calls to independent bookstores and appropriate specialty shops in the area. Leave them with a copy of your book or a promotional package.
As you can see, you don’t have to go too far out of your way to get exposure for your book. In order to increase sales, however, it’s wise to challenge yourself to stretch outside your comfort zone.
Here’s an idea: try at least one new marketing technique every month. Become a public speaker, for example, offer your book as a premium item, tap into the library market, create a promotional display to offer bookstores and specialty shops that sell your book or get added recognition for your book by entering it in contests.
Patricia Fry has been writing for publication for 27 years, having contributed articles to numerous magazines. She published her first book in 1983 and now has many self-published and traditionally published books to her credit including: The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, A Writer?s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book.
[Author's Note: Right Way has been retired. See my most recent books in the left column of this page.]